Writing Competition Runner-Up: Bob Woodroofe

There have been all sorts of influences that led to the poem ‘Chettywynde’.

"I’ve walked plenty of paths and explored lots of different ways on the journey through life itself and my own personal one. I suppose it all started when my life was derailed by divorce.
At the time my then teenage daughter gave me a copy of Robert Frost’s poem ‘The road not taken’ which was very astute of her. My poem’s title, although it’s Anglo Saxon, I found in ‘Songlines’, Bruce Chatwin’s book about the Aboriginal dream time. Kim Taplin’s ‘The English Path’ is full of a host of references to the way that people have looked at the ‘path’. The literature is littered with the phrase ‘Solvitur ambulando’ translated it means ‘Work it out by walking’ which sums it up nicely. The poem I submitted is only the current version, one of several that have been created and developed over time. A previous version was slanted towards what many perceive as the right way, the pursuit of monetary wealth, and my subsequent abandonment of that in search of an existence closer to the land and to nature. The road less travelled you might say. No doubt there are others versions still to come."

Bob was runner-up in the Wild Words Summer Solstice Writing Competition, in 2016. This is his poem. 


Words are but steps on the page,
just one begins a lifetime’s journey.
Press your pen to the paper, let it flow
on till you reach the end of the line.

A single step, press your sole
to the ground, raise it, lower it,
again, again, feel the earth,
the blade of grass, grain of soil.

Listen to your heart’s beat
let your feet follow the scent,
track the spoor that leads ahead.
Mark your steps in the morning dew.

Be scared, feel the adrenalin rush.
That pulse of energy from the earth,
wild river in flood, forest fire raging.
Take the chance, run, run for your life.

Yes, you will stumble, down you will fall.
Heed the path’s call, haul yourself up,
brush off the dirt, ignore the hurt,
struggle on, even if you have to crawl.

Against the flow, the way you want,
stride out, keep on along the trail
The faint track, the winding path,
not hollowed by the feet of time.

Take time to stop and stare,
explore, ramble where you will.
See the sun rise, watch it set,
When weary, rest, then travel on.

Go walkabout, follow your dream,
lose yourself, then find your way.
Till you find that place, your home,
peace, at the end of the road.

Sense when the end is in sight,
when the journey is finally done.
Then the words no longer flow
and the poem of life is over.

*Anglo Saxon for the winding path

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